Sexualizing children

Mother's fury as children as young as EIGHT are being offered free condoms

By Chris Brooke

Last updated at 9:02 PM on 23rd April 2010

A mother has criticised youth workers for giving out condoms to children near a play park

Charity youth workers have been criticised after offering free condoms to children as young as eight who were playing in a park.

Angry mother Samantha Fuller says her 13-year-old daughter was given the contraceptives - but she also claims her eight-year-old nephew was asked if he wanted some.

Mrs Fuller, who found the condoms in her daughter's bedroom, says Hull-based charity Cornerhouse is effectively encouraging under-age sex and undermining her role as a parent.
The taxpayer-funded organisation has confirmed workers give contraceptives to children, but only to those over 13.

Mrs Fuller, of Beverley, East Yorkshire, said: 'My daughter's sexual health is my responsibility, it's not that of a stranger giving out condoms.
'I feel she is being encouraged to have sex and she is being encouraged to be deceitful. It's not right. I was fuming when I found out.'
Mrs Fuller said she was in favour of sex education but wanted parents to know their children were being handed condoms on the street.

She said: 'This person said, "We are handing out free condoms if you are interested." My nephew, who is eight, was offered them at the park.'
The mother insisted her daughter was not sexually active and took the contraceptives 'for a laugh'.

She added: 'She's my daughter, she's not the Government's daughter, the council's daughter or the youth centre's daughter.

'They will not care about my daughter if anything happens, it's my responsibility.'

Cornerhouse works in 'all aspects of sexual health, including HIV/AIDS, family planning and prevention of sexual transmitted infections'. It offers education, training, guidance and support.

Chief executive Tish Lamb was not available for comment yesterday, but she told the local newspaper: 'The idea of street-based projects is to enable people who maybe don't have access to mainstream services having access to support, advice and anything they might need to know about sexual well-being.'

The organisation receives most of its 390,000 annual income in the form of publicly funded grants from organisations such as the local council and NHS trust.

The initiative to hand out the contraceptives - which echoes recent schemes to give free condoms to children in schools - was last night condemned by Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust.
He said: 'There is no justification for the investment of public funds in this aggressive and intrusive scheme. Parents are quite right to be appalled.
'There is no question that giving out contraceptives to young people gives them the green light to experiment sexually and will encourage some of them to become sexually active when they would not otherwise have done so.'
But Jackie Brewis, East Riding of Yorkshire Council's Youth Service Manager, backed the scheme.

She said: 'While also encouraging young people to delay sex and speak to their parents and carers, we have a responsibility to offer them confidential advice and support with the aim to reduce teenage pregnancy.'

Hull has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the country.

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